The Next Bestseller

I’ve been writing books consistently now for about ten years. Whenever I speak somewhere as an author, I inevitably have people tell me that they want to write a book or possibly have already begun the process. Have you ever wanted to write a book?

Although a lot of my writing is for the purpose of helping people have a growing, meaningful relationship with Jesus, I’ve written a few to help people fulfill their dreams of becoming writers. My newest book that is coming out on March 10 is for that purpose. It’s entitled, “The Next Bestseller: Book Marketing for Success.” I’ve learned that if you’re going to be a successful author, you have to be an effective marketer.

The first chapter of the book shares my struggle of having to learn how to market when I just really wanted to write books. If you want to become an author, you may find yourself facing the same battle. You can write the greatest book in the world, but if no one knows it exists, then you will never have the opportunity to influence anyone through your writing.

I believe that many people want to write, and you may be one of them. Before you complete your book, or even start it, I’d like to encourage you to think about how you will find the audience to read your book once it’s published.

I have to admit that marketing never crossed my mind until after my first book was published. If I’d thought about it on the front end, I would have started working on enlarging my author platform long before I held my first book in my hand.Over my next few posts, I’ll share a few things from my book you may want to consider as you ponder the possibility of becoming a published author. Maybe these thoughts will help you see ways you can influence people through your writing. Though my book will not be available until March 10, you can preorder the digital version now from Amazon. The paperback version will probably come out on Amazon a little before the 10th. In the meantime, would you like to become a published author? Go for it!

Divine Appointments

I recently hiked about 230 miles on the Appalachian Trail through the state of Pennsylvania. It was awesome and got me much closer to completing the entire 2200-mile trail. On the morning of my fifth day, I got up early and started hiking by 6:45. My goal was Boiling Springs because the trail went through the edge of town. Once in town, I ate breakfast at a restaurant, visited an outfitters store ,and stopped at a few displays that were a part of the Founder’s Day event of the town that day. Little did I know, but this meandering that I thought of as wasting time was actually God setting me up for a divine appointment.

I hiked another eleven or twelve miles, including a section of about a mile where I practically ran through swarms of mosquitos, and ended up at a farm or storage place used by the Appalachian Trial conference. I read earlier that I could find a cooler of cold water at this location. I saw the water cooler on the end of the table and a hiker sitting at the table talking on her phone. When she got off the phone, I learned that she had started hiking south somewhere in New Hampshire while I was hiking north from the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line.

Machu Pichu (an amazing place in Peru) came up in our conversation. I mentioned that while my son and I were doing mission work to study unreached people groups in Peru, we had visited the ancient ruins. She replied by asking me if I was a minister and then asked if I wouldn’t mind answering a question. She told me that she was Buddhist, but she had been considering Christianity. She had some questions and didn’t have anyone she could ask. Her question related to the exclusivity of the Gospel. Why was Jesus the only way to salvation? I had a thirty-minute conversation with her about God’s plan of salvation. She thanked me and agreed to think about the things I had shared before we parted ways. She went south; I went north.

I’ve thought a lot about that encounter. I was first amazed that many things could have kept me from meeting this seeker, but I happened upon the picnic table at just the right time for an eternal conversation. That was not an accident. My first thought was that this encounter happened that morning when I decided to start hiking at 6:45, but then I realized that it actually started thirty-five years ago when I started hiking the trail in Georgia. It may seem far-fetched, but I’m confident God orchestrated this meeting when I first decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, or even before. He loves Venus (that’s her trail name) and sent me on a mission to tell her about Jesus. I thought I was just hiking the Appalachian Trail for fun and to accomplish a life-long goal, but I was actually on a mission to keep a divine appointment.

God has divine appointments for all of us. The key is that we need to be attentive and prepared. We should start each day by asking God to help us to be sensitive to those appointments and not miss the opportunity to be used by Him. I’m honored to have been used by God to tell Venus about Jesus. I hope to meet her again one day in Heaven. I’m sure that I have missed opportunities in the past, but this encounter has sharpened my resolve to never miss an appointment again.

Shake the Salt

“You are the salt of the earth.” Jesus told His followers that we have a role in our world to season and preserve. Notice that Jesus said “You are.” Influencing our world should be as natural for the believer as breathing or sleeping. So, how do you influence the world? We all have countless opportunities, but in this blog, I am going to address one area about which I am passionate.

Technology has opened a whole new world to all of us through social media, blogging, and even writing and publishing books. This thought led me to write a series of books called “The Published Pastor.” To date, I have two books in the series (Book 1 – “Expanding Your Ministry Through Writing and Publishing” and Book 2 – “How to Write and Publish Books”), and I will soon be releasing a third book on the topic of marketing Many of you who read my blogs could become a published author, and that would be one way you could be salt in our earth.

While the title of the Published Pastor series suggests these books only apply to pastors, the information is applicable to anyone who would like to write and publish. If you are a pastor, small group leader, Sunday School teacher, or Bible study leader, the books will have easy application to some of the things you do on a regular basis. You will see that I speak directly to pastors about how to turn a sermon series into a book, but the principles are easily applicable to every circumstance. Dr. Gerald Harris recently reviewed this series in the Christian Index. He said, “The book is extremely well written, extraordinarily helpful, and as practical as a Bible is to a Gospel preacher.” You can click this link to read the entire review.

In this series, I wrote to encourage Christians to use the resources availed to them through technology today to make a difference in the world. I also wanted to remove the mystery of becoming a published author and show that if you have ever considered writing a book, you can certainly do it. I originally published these as digital books and then combined books 1 & 2 into one paperback book. If $2.99 will stretch your budget right now, feel free to contact me, and I’ll send you a copy for free.

Whether you want to write books, record CD’s, paint pictures, blog, or create another product with a Christian message, I encourage you to find your avenue to make a difference in the world. Don’t keep saying that you will make a difference one day through your gifts or talents. Do it today. If you are interested in writing, I am happy to help you any way I can. Our challenge is to shake the salt, and God’s Kingdom will shine through us.

Amazing Churches

Church of the Intercession of the Mother of God, Pokrovskaia Tserkov, 1764. Church of Transfiguration, Preobrajenskaia Tserkov, 1714. Tower clock, 1874. Kizhi Island. Onega lake, Karelia. Russia.

I just read an article entitled “Ten of the World’s Most Stunning Religious Buildings.” The article presented a list of ten architectural masterpieces that really are amazing edifices. For example, one of the structures (see the picture) was made entirely with wood, but the builders did not use a single nail. Here’s what troubles me about this article. Most of them were not used for Christian purposes, and only one of the buildings that was used for Christian services is still used for anything other than a museum. The one building that is still in use is a Greek monastery called Metéora, which means “middle of the sky.” This monastery was built on top of a sandstone pillar about 1200 feet off the ground. When originally built in the 1500’s, no stairs were included. Monks had to be pulled up into the structure by rope, and the old ropes were not replaced until God showed the monks they needed to be replaced. How did that happen? You guessed it. A rope would break. I would hate to be the monk on the lift that convinced the250px-Holy_Monastery_of_Rousanou guy in charge that they needed a new rope.

I have at least two problems with this whole concept. First, nine out of ten of these buildings are not being used for the purpose of making Christ known to the world. Even the ones originally built for this purpose (though most of them were constructed to honor a particular monarch) are now simply museums. The one remaining structure still in use is for the purpose of getting away from the world instead of being used to reach the world. The second problem I have with them is that a church is actually a living organism (not a building) that exists for the purpose of carrying out Christ’s mission in the world: making disciples. This involves evangelism and spiritual mentoring as new believers become more like Christ. Disciple making requires us to be busy and in the world (but not of it). I would enjoy visiting these buildings because I am fascinated with architecture – especially of old buildings. While these ten buildings are stunning indeed, they are also heart breaking. Maybe we should be stunned that something so beautiful is so ineffective. The real question is are we the church God wants us to be? Regardless of the place of our church membership, if we are Christians, then we are called to embrace the world (people), love the world (of course I’m speaking of loving the people of the world regardless of their background, beliefs, or life-styles), and lead the world to faith in Christ. If people looked at you or at the building you go to for church services, would they see something or someone who is passionately in love with Jesus Christ and working tirelessly for His cause or would they see a dusty museum? Just a thought.

Got A Second?

Last_Days_Clock“I just don’t have enough time in a day.” How many times have you repeated that mantra? Sadly that phrase seems to be the theme song for many of our lives. Well…you’re in luck. You got an extra second today, but the day is almost over. We had a rare event today in that we were given an extra second. Experts refer to this as being a “leap second.” The National Institute of Standards and Technology define a leap second as “a second added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) in order to keep it synchronized with astronomical time,” What in the world will you do with a second? Probably nothing. It does make me think, however, about what it would be like if we were suddenly given an extra hour or an extra day. What if I could hold up a rod (like Moses) and gain an extra few hours? Here’s a thought. Why did we need an extra hour today when there’s a good chance we wasted several of the ones we had? I think it would be a good idea for us to make note of something we would do tomorrow if we had an extra hour and go ahead and do it with one of the hours we already have.  If we work harder at managing our time, we might feel as if we’ve been given an extra hour a day, and with that extra time, we could change the world.

Church Attendance in America

church_attendanceI’ve got bad news and bad news. According to a recent study done by Pew Research, 7 in 10 Americans identify with the Christian tradition. I know as a Christian, the idea of someone “identifying with the Christian tradition” does not lead me to think they necessarily are Christians. However, at least 70% of Americans have some connection to the Christian faith. The Associated Press article about the Pew survey stated that “the ranks of Christians have declined as the segment of people with no religion has grown.” In response to the lack of interest in religious affiliation by a growing number of Americans, researchers have created a category of people called “Nones.” The survey points out that in the last seven years, those who call themselves agnostic or having not particular faith grew frpom 16% to 23%. Christians dropped from 78% to under 71% of the population.

Here’s the other bad news. : “While many U.S. religious groups are aging, the unaffiliated are comparatively young – and getting younger, on average, over time.” In other words, we are finding that more and more younger adults are not only disinterested in church. They are not interested in Christianity at all. Another study showed that only 2 out of 10 Millennials (people who are 30 years old or younger) think church attendance is important. Thirty-five percent of them take an anti-church stance.

The good news is that God is still at work in the United States, and you and I can join Him in changing the world. If Christians will wake up and get to work, maybe the next Pew study will show these numbers in a different light.

Why do you think there is a decline in church attendance in America?

The Resurrection

tombWhat difference does the resurrection of Jesus Christ make in your life? What difference does it make in a family and in a country? Christ’s resurrection certainly gives us perspective and hope. It reminds us that we too can have victory over death and the grave through Jesus, and our only hope for eternity is found in faith and trust in Jesus and His finished work on the cross. Our hope finds new joy and anticipation as we too consider the empty tomb. Our Savior is not dead, but rather He is alive. This reality should change the way we live and respond to people and circumstances. It reminds us that we live for eternity and not just for time. It calls us to order our lives according to the teaching of God’s Word and show the world how the resurrection changes our character, our relationships, and how we treat those whom we do not even know. The resurrection creates a bond between believers throughout the world and helps us to better understand the broad concept of family. The Christian family is a global unit, and therefore when one Christian is hurting in Iraq, Christians across the world feel his sorrow. This means we cannot ignore the persecution of Christians regardless of where they live. We share a common faith with Christians everywhere, and therefore it is our responsibility to pray for our brothers and sisters and to do everything in our power to help relieve their struggles. This means writing to our political leaders to express our views and concerns, supporting relief organizations that are reaching out to the persecuted, and praying for Christians who are living daily under the threat of persecution.

I recently listened to David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Great Britain as he shared an Easter message. I encourage you to listen to it. He underscored the role of a Christian nation in reaching out to the down trodden, the persecuted, and the abused. It was refreshing to hear him refer to Great Britain as a Christian nation, and it made me long to see our own nation embrace our Christian heritage. We can expect increased persecution of Christians in the next years, and it is paramount that we pray for our brothers and sisters and support them in any way possible. As we mentally gather at the empty tomb to see that Jesus has indeed risen, we will look around and discover that we share this wonder and awe as well as responsibility with Christians everywhere. Regardless of denominational title or geographical location, we are family together because the tomb is empty. May the death and resurrection of Jesus continue to impact our choices and actions as we live in light of the resurrection of Jesus.

A Life of Prayer

prayer2Prayer is a life and not just an event. I have learned in my Christian walk how naturally it is for me to fall into a pattern of compartmentalization. By that I mean that I create small compartments through which I live my life. I can have the pastor compartment, the husband compartment, the father compartment, etc. While these categories are quite harmless and acceptable, I can also create the Christian compartment and the secular compartment. I can even create compartments of activities such as one for Bible reading and one for prayer. Here’s the problem. My spiritual life cannot just be a compartment. For that matter, spiritual disciplines cannot just fall into a neat category. Prayer cannot just be an activity I perform, and when I am done, I fold it up and put it away until it’s time to pull it out again. I do not have a spiritual life; I am a spiritual life. Everything about my journey with God defines my being.


Prayer is one of those things that can so easily be compartmentalized, but God says it should be synonymous with the life we live. Consider the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” These three words make up a very strong and informative imperative. We are commanded by the God of the universe to pray without stopping. This means that prayer is not just a thing we do. It is the life we live. We are to communicate with God 24/7. Okay, it may be a little hard to communicate with God in our sleep, but I suppose it is possible . The point is that we should wake up with a prayer on our lips. Our conversation with God should continue throughout our entire day, and then we close our eyes with the final words of our prayer for the day on our hearts. This means that we talk with God about everything in our lives. Here is the awesome thing: God is interested. He wants you to talk with Him about every little detail of your life. Imagine how incredible it would be if we really did pray without ceasing. Here’s the thing. When you are praying without ceasing, you cannot worry. I think it is impossible to pray and worry at the same time. When you pray without ceasing, you cannot hold a grudge, have a lustful thought, or say ugly words. You can’t cheat on your income taxes, watch a movie that doesn’t honor the Lord, or slander your neighbor if you are constantly talking to the Lord. Do you realize how amazing it would be if you started your day with “Our Father” and ended it with “Amen?”


Give it a try. Continuous prayer changes things, and the biggest thing it will change is you. Go ahead. Start praying and don’t stop. God is anticipating your conversation.

Truett Cathy

truettA great man closed his eyes this morning in the presence of his earthly family and opened them again in the presence of his heavenly family. When Truett Cathy passed away this morning, the world was greatly impacted because Mr. Cathy was a man who not only showed the world how to live, but he also showed us how to die.  I suppose many people in the Atlanta area could tell a Truett Cathy story, but mine involves a young teenager named David who needed a place to live. He lived in my home for a while, but because I have six children (and at the time my brother, his wife and five children lived with us), we really did not have room for him. I called Mr. Cathy’s assistant, and she told me to bring my young friend to their corporate office. We were ushered into Mr. Cathy’s office, and he treated us as if we were the most important appointment on his agenda. Never mind that he was late leaving to catch a plane for Europe where he had an important meeting, Mr. Cathy talked to David about choices in life. He offered my young friend a place to live and a very bright future, but he told David that he would have responsibilities and had to follow the rules. David agreed, and Mr. Cathy had his assistant take us up to the top floor of the office building. The top floor looked like a huge department store filled with name brand clothes and shoes of every size (for young people). David was allowed to choose clothes and shoes, and we were both overwhelmed by this man’s generosity. The next day, David went to live at one of Mr. Cathy’s homes for children.

Truett Cathy is an example of a man who lived from the inside out. Many years earlier, he had surrendered his life to Jesus Christ allowing Jesus to sit as King of his heart, and this decision impacted every decision he made for the rest of his life. This decision also determined his eternal destiny. While we sometimes wonder why Christians do not live out their faith, that was not the case with Truett Cathy, and the world is a better place because Mr. Cathy let his light shine for Jesus Christ. He is a model for the rest of us. Romans 1:17 says “The just will live by faith.” In other words, our lives should be different because we are people of faith. The world is desperate to see authentic Christianity, and Jesus has commissioned us to be like salt and light in the world. May the life and testimony of Truett Cathy not be forgotten as we press on to the day when we too will cross over to the other side.

Offer for a Free Gift

giftDo you like to be updated on things? I am away on my annual study break, and I’ve had different family members call me to see how it’s going. I suppose most people are curious about the prospects of going away for a week to return home with a preaching plan for my sermons for the next year. It’s true that I will have a preaching plan when I return, but my plan is not in concrete. I do feel that God has led me through this process of studying and prayer, but I am open to God moving in ways throughout my year to change my direction, if He so chooses. Anyway, it has been interesting to have the various phone calls with the anticipated question, “So, how’s it going?”

I have put together a plan for sharing updates with you that are different than just a regular blog. It is an offer to be a part of an e-mail update system whereby I can let you know what’s going on through my writing  or pastoral ministry. There may be times I send an e-mail out to ask for advice on the opening words of a new book, ideas for chapter themes, or advice on a crazy idea. It could be a request for special prayer about a particular avenue of ministry on which I may be about to embark. I suppose it will sort of be like a personal newsletter, but it will many times be an update I feel comfortable sharing with friends who have asked for personal correspondence, but I don’t feel comfortable making it open to the general public who may be reading my blog. I will also offer free gifts along the way as a special way of saying thanks for being interested in what I’m doing and for being a partner in my ministry.

You can sign up for this email update by going to my website at Look to the right side of the home page and scroll down to the bottom of the far right column. You will see something that says, “Receive E-mail Updates from Dr. Tim Riordan.” Just type your e-mail address in the box and click the “sign up” button. Here’s the free gift part: I will respond to all those who sign up with a reply e-mail (give me a week or so to give everyone time to sign up) with a preview of the introduction and first chapter of my new book, Immovable: Standing Firm in the Last Days. My book will not be out until the end of October, but you can get a head start. As a matter of fact, I would welcome your thoughts and comments to the intro and first chapter, once you’ve read it. You can post your comments on my blog below this posting. Let me say in advance, “Welcome aboard.” I look forward to the journey we are about to take together.